Something happens to you when you get a little older, you kind of trade roles with your parents. I have said ad nauseam that I could not do life as a single mama without my support system (Cole’s loyal cheer squad, my parents), but sometimes the roles are completely reversed.
My dad had a couple of health scares last year, and neither Cole nor I liked seeing him in that hospital bed. My dad does not do helpless well, and I could see the writing on the wall for our future with my parents when they are older. I joke and say I am going to build a granny pod in my backyard for them. My mom says she couldn’t handle that and they will be just fine (bullheadedness, it seems, is a trait Cole comes by honestly).
As a kid, you think of your parents as completely invincible, so seeing them battling some health issues is a hard mental switch. When we got the news that my mama needed some surgery (she is just as bullheaded as my dad) I knew we were in for an experience.
She came through the procedure like a champion, and my dad made friends with everyone in the waiting room, and my mother the nurses. They literally hugged and kissed her, and blew her kisses as we went out the door to leave in her chariot. Several times during that experience I had time to reflect on how those nurses and their encouraging attitudes really shaped our experience. What could have been a scary time full of unknowns ended up being a time filled with laughter and calm.
It seems those sweet nurses knew what I also preach to sometimes salty teenagers in my office all the time. A positive attitude and lots of encouragement can change someone’s day, someone’s week, and someone’s life. I know I sometimes sound like a guidance counseling office poster when I tell people to encourage each other. (My boss’s nickname for me is “Elf”, which truly does not bother me). That hospital visit could have been a stressful, terrible time, but they spoke to all of us with kindness, with humor (also one of my favorite love languages) and with encouragement. How much different would your day be if you decided to interact with people with kindness and gratitude (especially parking in the Walmart parking lot, where I frequently have to breath deeply and remember that I have Jesus in my heart)? That snippy checker at the grocery store may just be in need of someone to ask her how her day is going. That mama next to you at the gym may not be talking to you because she is a ball of stress and anxiety. That kid in your office who just was referred to you for a not so nice attitude might have not gotten any sleep, any breakfast or any love because he has lost his housing, or someone in his family who helps provide for him/her may have lost their job. You never know what other people are going through, so proceed with prayer and kindness (and humor, that works wonders).
*Still working on those ideas for that Granny Pod too.